Monday, August 30, 2010

Five best books about extreme cold

Bill Streever, a biologist who lives and works in Alaska, is the author of Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about extreme cold. One title on the list:
The Children's Blizzard
by David Laskin

David Laskin applies his talent for personalizing history to the blizzard of 1888 on America's northern Plains. Kids go to school on a pleasant January morning, but then temperatures plummet without warning and blinding snow rushes in. Young Etta Shattuck, one of the storm's victims, takes refuge in a haystack, only to die later from complications of severe frostbite. "The Children's Blizzard" gives us a portrait of life on the American prairie just before the 20th century but also a story of hypothermia, of wind chill and of people becoming "cold stupid" as they try to find a safe haven. "The dulled mind," Laskin writes, "begins to throb around a single image—really more a sensation than an image: the craving for warmth." He believes that the brutal storm—it killed hundreds, many of them children—marked a turning point in the pioneer romance with an unforgiving land. Laskin also leaves us with a well-placed fear of severe cold's implacable danger.
Read about the other books on the list.

Read an excerpt from Cold, and learn more about the book and author at Bill Streever's website.

The Page 99 Test: Cold.

--Marshal Zeringue